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Nicolaus of Damascus - Life of Augustus

Nicolaus of Damascus - Life of Augustus

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Published by: kickerofelves on Jun 08, 2011
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Nicolaus of DamascusLife of Augustus
Translated by Clayton M. Hall (1923)
F 125: (1)
Men gave him this name in view of his claim to honor; and, scattered over islandsand continents, through city and tribe, they revere him by building temples and by sacrificing to him,thus requiting him for his great virtue and acts of kindness toward themselves. For this man, havingattained preeminent power and discretion, ruled over the greatest number of people within the memoryof man, established the farthest boundaries for the Roman Empire, and settled securely not only thetribes of Greeks and barbarians, but also their dispositions; at first with arms but afterward evenwithout arms, by attracting them of their own free will. By making himself known through kindness he persuaded them to obey him. The names of some of them he had never heard before, nor had they beensubject within the memory of anyone, but he subdued them: all those that live as far as the Rhine and beyond the Ionian Sea and the Illyrian peoples. These are called Pannonians and Dacians (See thework: 'Concerning Brave Honest Deeds').
F 126: (2)
To set forth the full power of this man's intelligence and virtue, both in theadministration which he exercised at Rome and in the conduct of great wars both domestic and foreign,is a subject for competition in speech and essay, that men may win renown by treating it well. I myself shall relate his achievements, so that all can know the truth. First I shall speak of his birth and breeding,his parents his nurture and education from infancy, by means of which he came to such an estate.His father was Gaius Octavius, a man of senatorial rank. His forbears, renowned for both wealth and justice, left their estates to him, an orphan, at their death. His guardians spent his money, but heremitting his just claims was satisfied with the remainder.
F 127: (3)
Octavius, at the age of about nine [twelve?] years, was an object of no littleadmiration to the Romans, exhibiting as he did great excellence of nature, young though he was; for hegave an oration before a large crowd and received much applause from grown men. After hisgrandmother's death he was brought up by his mother Atia and her husband Lucius Philippus, who wasa descendant of the conquerors Philip of Macedonia. At Philippus' house, as if at his father's, Octaviuswas reared and showed great promise, already seeming to be treated with respect by his comrades, thechildren of highest birth. Many of them associated with him, and even not a few of the youths who hadhopes to undertake affairs of state. Daily many lads, men, and boys of his own age attended himwhether he rode on horseback outside of the town or went to the house of his relations or any other  person; for he exercised his mind with the finest practices and his body with both genteel and warlike pursuits; and more quickly than his teachers he himself applied his lesson to the facts in hand, so thatfor this reason also much praise redounded to him in the city. Both his mother and her husbandPhilippus took care of him, inquiring each day from the instructors and curators whom they had placedin charge of the boy what he had accomplished, how far he had advanced, or how he had spent the dayand with whom he associated.
At the time when the Civil War had laid hold on the city, his mother Atia and Philippus quietly sentOctavius off to one of his father's country places.He entered the Forum, aged about fourteen, to put off the toga praetextata and assume the toga virilis,this being a token of his becoming registered as a man. Then while all the citizens looked upon him,
 because of his comeliness and very evidently noble descent, he sacrificed to the gods and wasregistered in the sacred college in place of Lucius Domitius, who had died. The people indeed had veryeagerly elected him to this position. Accordingly, he performed the sacrifice, adorned with the togavirilis and at the same time the honors of a very high priestly office. Nevertheless, though he was registered as of age according to law, his mother would not let him leavethe house other than as he did before, when he was a child, and she made him keep to the same mode of life and sleep in the same apartment as before. FOr he was of age only by law, and in other respectswas taken care of as a child. He did not change the fashion of his clothes, but continued to use theRoman garb.
He went to the temples on the regular days, but after dark on account of his youthful charm, seeingthat he attracted many women by his comeliness and high lineage; though often tempted by them heseems never to have been enticed. Not only did the watchful care of his mother, who guarded him andforbade his wandering, protect him, but he too was prudent now that he was advancing in age. Duringthe Latin festival when the consuls had to ascend the Alban Mount to perform the customary sacrifices,the priests meanwhile succeeding to the jurisdiction of the consuls, Octavius sat on the Tribunal in thecenter of the forum. And there came many people on legal business and many on no business at allexcept for a sight of the boy; for he was well worth beholding, especially when he assumed the dignityand honorable aspect of office.
Caesar had by this time completed the wars in Europe, had conquered Pompey in Macedonia, hadtaken Egypt, had returned from Syria and the Euxine Sea, and was intending to advance in to Libya inorder to put down what was left of war over there; and Octavius wanted to take the field with him inorder that he night gain experience in the practice of war. But when he found that his mother Atia wasopposed he said nothing by way of argument but remained at home. It was plain that Caesar, out of solicitude for them, did not wish him to take the field yet, lest he might bring on illness to a weak bodythrough changing his mode of life and thus permanently injure his health. For this cause he took no partin the expedition.
After finishing that war also, Caesar returned to Rome, having granted pardon to a very few of thecaptives who fell to him because they had not learned wisdom in the earlier wars. Then the followingincident occurred: there was a particular associate and friend of Octavius, Agrippa, who had beeneducated at the same place and who was a very special friend of his. His brother was with Cato andtreated with much respect; he had participated in the Libyan War, but was at this time taken captive.Although Octavius had never yet asked anything of Caesar he wanted to beg the prisoner off, but hehesitated because of modesty and at the same time because he saw how Caesar was disposed towardthose who had been captured in that war. However, he made bold to ask it, and had his request granted.Thereupon he was very glad at having rescued a brother for his friend and he was praised by others for employing his zeal and right of intercession first of all for a friend's safety.
After this Caesar celebrated his triumphs for the Libyan War and the others which he had fought;and he ordered the young Caesar, whom he had now adopted, and who was in a way a son even bynature, on account of the closeness of their relationship, to follow his chariot, having bestowed uponhim military decorations, as if he had been his aide (syskenon) the war. Likewise, at the sacrifices andwhen entering the temples he stationed him at his side and he ordered the others to yield precedence tohim. Caesar already bore the rank of Imperator, which was the highest according to the Roman usage,and he was highly esteemed in the state. The boy, being his companion both at the theater and at the banquets, and seeing that he conversed kindly with him, as if with his own son, and having by this time become somewhat more courageous, when many of his friends and citizens asked him to intercede for them with Caesar, in matters in which they were in need of aid, looking out for the opportune momenthe respectfully asked and was successful; and he became of great value to many of his kinsfolk, for he
took care never to ask a favor at an inopportune time, nor when it was annoying to Caesar. And hedisplayed not a few sparks of kindness and natural intelligence.
Caesar wished Octavius to have the experience of directing the exhibition of theatrical productions(for there were two theaters, the one Roman, over which he himself had charge, and the other Greek).This he turned over to the care of Octavius. The latter, wishing to exhibit interest and benevolence inthe matter, even on the hottest and longest days, never left his post before the end of the play; with theresult that he fell ill, for he was young and unaccustomed to toil. Being very ill, every one feltconsiderable apprehension regarding him, lest a constitution such as his might suffer some mishap, andCaesar most of all. Accordingly, every day he either called himself and encouraged him or else sentfriends to do so, and he kept physicians in continuous attendance. On one occasion word was broughtto him while he was dining that Octavius was in a state of collapse and dangerously ill. He sprang upand ran barefooted to the place where the patient was, and in great anxiety and with great emotionquestioned the physicians, and he sat down by the bedside himself. When Octavius' full recovery was brought about, he showed much joy.
While Octavius was convalescent, still weak physically though entirely out of danger, Caesar hadto take the field on an expedition in which he had previously the intention of taking the boy. Thishowever he could not now do on account of his attack of sickness. Accordingly, he left him behind inthe care of a number of persons who were to take particular charge of his mode of life; and givingorders that if Octavius should grow strong enough, he was to follow him, he went off to the war. Theeldest son of Pompeius Magnus had got together a great force in a short time, contrary to theexpectations of everyone, with the intention of avenging his father's death, and, if possible, of retrieving his father's defeat. Octavius, left behind in Rome, in the first place gave his attention togaining as much physical strength as possible, and soon he was sufficiently robust. Then he set outfrom home toward the army, according to his uncle's instructions (for that is what he called him). Manywere eager to accompany him on account of his great promise but he rejected them all, even his mother herself, and selecting the speediest and strongest of his servants he hastened on his journey and withincredible dispatch he covered the long road and approached Caesar, who had already completed thewhole war in the space of seven months.
When Octavius reached Tarraco it was hard to believe that he had managed to arrive in so great atumult of war. Not finding Caesar there, he had to endure more trouble and danger. He caught up withCaesar in Spain near the city of Calpia. Caesar embraced him as a son and welcomed him, for he hadleft him at home, ill, and he now unexpectedly saw him safe from both enemies and brigands. In fact,he did not let him go from him, but he kept him at his own quarters and mess. He commended his zealand intelligence, inasmuch as he was the first of those who had set out from Rome to arrive. And hemade the point of asking him in conversation, for he was anxious to make a trial of his understanding;and finding that he was sagacious, intelligent, and concise in his replies and that he always answered tothe point, his esteem and affection for him increased. After this they had to sail for Carthago Nova, andarrangements were made whereby Octavius embarked in the same boat as Caesar, with five slaves, but,out of affection, he took three of his companions aboard in addition to the slaves, though he feared thatCaesar would be angry when he found this out. However, the reverse was the case, for Caesar was pleased in that Octavius was fond of his comrades and he commended him because he always liked tohave present with him men who were observant and who tried to attain to excellence; and because hewas already giving no little thought to gaining a good reputation at home.
Caesar duly arrived at Carthago Nova, intending to meet with those who were in need of him. Agreat many came to see him, some for the purpose of settling any differences they might have had withcertain persons, others because of matters of civil administration, others in order to obtain the rewardsfor deeds of courage which they had performed. Regarding these matters he gave them audience. Many

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